GOLKK Theatre to perform in Pisa

GOLKK Theatre, one of the Graduate Theatre Companies sponsored by the School of Arts, will be performing their show ‘Peeking in the Portrait’ at the Festival of Academic Theatre (FAcT), held in Pisa, Italy this week 12-14 June 2019.

The festival is organised by the Scuola Normale Superiore, a university based in Pisa and Florence. It provides the opportunity for five university theatre groups to perform Pisa. GOLKK have received additional funding by the School of Arts at Kent.

‘Peeking in the Portrait’ creates a world where four people and a camera have no limitation to where they will end up. The work is inspired by the life and works of Lady Clementina Hawarden, one of Britain’s first female photographers. The show, developed by GOLKK on the MA in Physical Acting, explores what it means to exist in a world where we are simultaneously witnesses and the witnessed.

The show will be performed at 9pm (CET) on 14 June at the Teatro Lumiere.

Olly Double on BBC South East Today

Dr Olly Double, Reader in Drama in the School of Arts, appeared on BBC South East Today last night (2 May 2019), interviewed along with comedian Alexei Sayle regarding the Alternative Comedy Now Festival, which is currently ongoing at Kent.

‘Alternative comedy completely changed British stand-up comedy,’ explains Olly in the interview. ‘Before that there were a few people doing interesting things on the folk circuit, like Billy Connelly, but most stand-up comedy at that point was taking place in working men’s clubs and was based on unoriginal packaged jokes.’

Olly’s interview is followed in an interview with Alexei Sayle, which was recorded in the Gulbenkian Theatre on campus, prior to a show yesterday evening.

The piece is currently available on iPlayer, although expires at 7pm tonight, and begins at 15’11”:

Paul Allain to deliver keynote address

Paul Allain, Professor of Theatre and Performance in the School of Arts and Dean of the Graduate School, will give a keynote address at an international theatre forum and conference in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, held between Friday 10 and Sunday 12 May 2019.

The conference is titled ‘Out of the Frame’ and will explore street/open space theatre, its funding and role in society. The conference is organised by the Shoshin Theatre Association and the Committee on Theatrical Sciences of the Regional Committee of the Magyar Tudományos Akadémia [Hungarian Academy of Sciences].

Paul will be delivering the keynote address on Saturday 11 May, with a paper titled ‘Space Invaders or Alien Friends? Close Encounters of a Theatrical Kind’.

Paul’s talk will briefly trace key aspects of a theatre history which depicts the movement of certain key experimental theatre directors and groups from cities into the countryside, across Europe and in Asia too. The list is long, but Polish company Gardzienice and Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki stand out. Paul will ask what made these pioneers move to the country, what they sought, and what lessons we might learn from them for theatre-making today. How did other spaces and ‘new natural environments’ change training and acting, group dynamics, understanding of and encounters with an audience? Are such Romantic models still desirable and do artists still have such a choice? Or has choice now become urgent need in this age of mass migration?

The conference is part of the Rural Inclusive Outdoor Theatre Education 2 (RIOTE2) project, co-founded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

More information about the conference can be found here: https://www.shoshintheatre.com/outoftheframe

‘Comedy and Mental Health: Future Directions’ conference

The  Performance and Theatre Research Cluster and the Identities, Politics and the Arts Research Cluster in the School of Arts warmly invite you to conference entitled ‘Comedy and Mental Health: Future Directions’ to be held at the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus on Wednesday 1 May 2019.

The conference has been organised by Dr Dieter Declercq, Assistant Lecturer in Film and Media in the School of Arts.

At this event, eight speakers from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds will deliver short presentations on what they consider the most pressing questions and challenges for future research on mental health and comedy, especially stand-up comedy. The event is designed to stimulate further research into comedy and mental health by identify new research topics, exchanging methodological strategies and explore interdisciplinary and collaborative research.

Sessions will include ‘Comedy, Humour and Mental Health. An Attempted Overview and Some New Directions’; ‘Taking of the Mask and Laughing: Autistic Humour, Passing and Mental Health’; ‘Women Stand-Ups, Self-Denigrating Comedy and Mental Wellbeing’ and ‘Has the Growth of Stand-Up Comedy Contributed to Greater Awareness of Mental Health Issues?’

For the full programme, please see the page here:  www.kent.ac.uk/arts/newsandevents/calendar.html?eid=37635

The conference is free to attend and is open to all. Registration is open until Monday 29 April 2019; to register please email Dieter at dd324@kent.ac.uk.

Margherita Laera wins funding for theatre translation education resource

Dr Margherita Laera, Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre in the School of Arts, has just won Follow-On Funding for Public Engagement and Impact from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for a budget of £77k to fund a project on foreign-language plays in translation, targeting secondary school students and teachers.

This project will address the issue of under-representation of cultural difference in the British secondary school drama curriculum by creating an open-access educational website of video resources to engage secondary school children with foreign-language plays. By targeting young drama students and their teachers, the project will provide training for future theatre-makers and audiences to appreciate stories from diverse contexts and empathise with culturally distant others.

Increasing representation of non-English languages and cultures on English-speaking stages is of paramount importance to foster understanding among communities in multicultural societies, such as the UK, but also in the US, where translations of foreign-language texts tend to be rare and immigration high.

The website will include newly commissioned filmed extracts of five plays in the original language and two English translations, in order to highlight how translation strategies can have an impact on the production. The videos will be entirely new and curated for the project, featuring a professional cast. The site will also include film interviews with key practitioners working in the field; extensive contextualisations of the plays by academics and theatre- makers; and teaching resources clarifying how to integrate the resource into the GCSE, A-Level, BTEC and IB curricula.

To learn more about AHRC Follow-On Funding for Public Engagement and Impact, please see the page here: https://ahrc.ukri.org/funding/apply-for-funding/current-opportunities/followonfunding/


A Night in the West End 1914-1918

On Saturday 27 April 2019, Gateways to the First World War will hold a lecture-concert entitled ‘A Night in the West End: 1914-1918’ at Westgate Hall, Canterbury. The event has been organised by Dr Helen Brooks, Reader in Theatre and Cultural History in the School of Arts, and Dr Emma Hanna, Senior Research Fellow in the School of History.

Gateways to the First World War is a centre for public engagement with the First World War centenary, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The aim of the Gateways team is to encourage and support public interest in the centenary of the First World War through a range of events and activities such as open days and study days, advice on access to materials and expertise, and signposting for other resources and forms of support.

In this lecture-concert, Helen and Emma bring together their respective expertise in the histories of wartime music and theatre to explore the story of the wartime West End. With the Invicta Concert Band and singers bringing the songs to life, this is a unique opportunity to experience the music and stories from some of the biggest hits of the war years, including Chu Chin Chow, A Little Bit of Fluff, The Bing Boys Are Here and The Maid of the Mountains.

The event will also include a collection for Soldiers’, Sailors’ & Families Association, the Armed Forces charity.

The event starts at 7pm and is free to attend. Tickets can be booked here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-night-in-the-west-end-1914-1918-tickets-55152965003

Call for papers: ‘Performing Multilingualism in Europe and Beyond’

Dr Margherita Laera, Senior Lecturer in Drama in the School of Arts, and Professor Peter Boenisch from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, are organising a conference entitled ‘Performing Multilingualism in Europe and Beyond: Migration, Globalisation, Utopia’ with the participation of Gintersdorfer / Klassen and Maxim-Gorki-Theater, Berlin. The conference will feature Professor Yana Meerzon (University of Ottawa) as keynote speaker, and will be hosted by the School of Arts on Friday 13 September 2019.

In an increasingly inter-connected world characterised by flows of people, goods and capital, multilingualism has become a feature in many social environments, highlighting the importance of translation in human communication. Whether enforced by financial waves, mass movement, tourism, education systems or colonialism, speaking multiple languages has become a feature of increasing importance in our societies. How do theatre and performance makers deal with multilingualism?

In the UK, the population is made up of 13.5% foreign-born and 8.9% non-British citizens (Migration Observatory, 2015). Still, multilingual theatre and performance in the UK is rare and mostly confined to the fringe theatre sector. Experiments such as those by Nina Raine (Tribes, 2010), Simon Stephens (Three Kingdoms, 2012) and Katie Mitchell (The Forbidden Zone, 2014) remain few and far between.

Elsewhere, particularly in continental Europe, Canada and Asia, the genre of multilingual theatre has gained new currency in the context of globalization, international mobility and movements of migration. Practitioners like Luk Perceval, Jan Lauwers, Anestis Azas, Michel Tremblay, Krzysztof Warlikowski, Robert Lepage, Lola Arias, Angélica Liddell, Fausto Paravidino, Ong Keng Sen, Robert Wilson and others have experimented with multilingualism. Under the artistic directorship of Milo Rau, National Theatre Ghent’s 2018 manifesto proposed ten commandments for a ‘theatre of the future’, where number six prescribes that at least two languages must be spoken in any given production. A number of European theatres, such as the Maxim-Gorki-Theater Berlin, had started long before the refugee situation of 2015 to foster cultural diversity and multilinguality within their ensembles, integrating exile artists from Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan and elsewhere (not all of them refugees), and allowing multiple languages to interweave in performance. In the work of these artists, multilingualism can perform both ideas of inclusivity and exclusivity, and signify both utopian and dystopian worlds.

Meanwhile, scholarship on multilingual theatre has been intensifying in recent years, but the field is still very much under-researched. Marvin Carlson’s Speaking in Tongues (2009) prompted colleagues to think about these practices, their histories and development in contemporary theatre. Since then, special issues of Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series. Themes in Translation Studies (2014) on multilingualism in film, theatre and opera, and the special issue of Modern Drama (61.3, 2018) on multilingual theatre in major world cities have advanced the horizons. Linguistic diversity in the arts and everyday life is the focus of ‘Creative Multilingualism’, a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council-sponsored research project based at the University of Oxford, part of Open World Research Initiative. ‘Creative Multilingualism’ has co-founded this conference and the research project of which it is part, headed by Prof. Peter Boenisch (co-I, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London, and Aarhus University, Denmark) and Dr Margherita Laera (PI, University of Kent, UK).

This conference seeks to stimulate an exchange between UK theatre makers and theatre artists from overseas, who engage with multilingual performance practices in the field of theatre dramaturgy, playwriting and performance-making. Our objective is to begin to chart the ‘state of the art’ of both advanced creative practice and academic discourses on multilingual theatre, and to map out core issues and problems for future research. We are interested in hearing the perspectives of artists, scholars and audiences alike.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Multilingualism in rehearsals
  • Multilingualism and performers
  • Multilingualism and dramaturgy
  • Multilingualism and audiences
  • Classifications and new trends of multilingual performance
  • Multilingualism and ideology
  • Multilingualism and migration
  • Multilingualism and post-colonialism
  • Multilingualism and/as Utopia/Dystopia

The organisers invite the submission of 300-word proposals for 20-minute papers by 6 May 2019.

Please send your proposals to: performingmultilingualism@gmail.com

Image credit: Heiner Müller, Hamletmachine, dir. Sebastian Nübling, Gorki Exil Ensemble, prem. 24 Feb. 2018 © Ute Langkafel

Olly Double organises Alternative Comedy Now festival

Forty years ago in May 1979, alternative comedy was born, changing the shape of British stand-up forever. Dr Olly Double, Reader in Drama in the School of Arts, in conjunction with The Gulbenkian, has organised a festival to celebrate the art form, entitled ‘Alternative Comedy Now’, which will include some of the funniest veterans of the 1980s scene, as well as some of today’s best alternative comedians. The Festival will run from Wednesday 1 May to Saturday 4 May 2019.

The Festival will open with the annual Linda Smith Lecture on Wednesday 1 May, to be delivered this year by the legendary Jo Brand, the writer and star of the critically acclaimed medical sitcom Getting On (BBC4), and the author of a numerous books from the 2009 novel The More You Ignore Me (made into a 2018 film starring Sheridan Smith) to Born Lippy, a recent Radio 4 Book of the Week. She is also a much-loved television personality, notably as presenter of The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice (BBC2/Channel 4). Such is her popularity, the event is already sold out.

On Thursday 2 May, Olly will host a conversation in the Gulbenkian with Alexei Sayle, famed for his appearances in The Young Ones (BBC2, 1982-1984), Alexei Sayle’s Stuff (BBC2, 1988-1991), parts in film and drama such as a role in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) as well as a one-off appearance in Doctor Who (BBC1, 1985). Tickets to this event cost £5, can be booked here: https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/event/alexei-sayle-in-conversation-with-oliver-double/

On Friday 3 May, Olly will be in conversation with core members of Alternative Cabaret, in a free, unticketed event at the Gulbenkian. Along with the Comedy Store and the Comic Strip, Alternative Cabaret was one of the three pillars on which a whole new comedy movement was built, as a new wave of performers who banded together to present non-racist, non-sexist comedy. To find out more, please see the page here: https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/event/pioneers-of-alternative-comedy-in-conversation/

The Saturday will see a ‘Comedy Club For Kids’ being held in the afternoon at 2pm, featuring alternative comedians performing routines suitable for children, aged six to grown ups. The event costs £1 children, £8 adults and can be booked here: https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/event/comedy-club-4-kids/

And at 8pm on the Saturday evening, will be a grand finale, ‘Heroes of Alternative Cabaret’, featuring an impressive list of star names from the circuit including Arthur Smith, Steve Gribbin, Arnold Brown, Attila the Stockbroker and Lorraine Bowen. Tickets cost £10/£15 and can be booked here: https://thegulbenkian.co.uk/event/heroes-of-alternative-cabaret/

TaPRA award nomination for digital acting resource

Physical Actor Training – An Online A-Z, a digital resource created by Professor Paul Allain, Professor of Theatre and Performance in the School of Arts and Dean of the Graduate School, Stacie Lee Bennett, Honorary Senior Research Associate in Arts at Kent, and Professor Frank Camilleri of the University of Malta, has been nominated for the David Bradby Award by the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA).

TaPRA was formed by a group of senior academics in theatre and performance, including Professor Allain, to promote the growth of research in the field by fostering a cooperative and collaborative ethos that would benefit postgraduate students, early career researchers and provide a platform to share the diverse discoveries of the discipline. The David Bradby Award celebrates outstanding research, including practice-based/applied research, in any theatre or performance area or discipline.

PATAZ: Physical Actor Training – An Online A-Z establishes a foundation for physical training exercises through over 60 dynamic videos with accompanying audio commentary, reflection, and texts for today’s physical actor, teacher, and trainer. Using innovative camera work and editing processes, each film explores a term from their A-Z, ranging from specific skills like Grounding and Balance to more abstract concepts like Energy or Craft.

The winner(s) of the David Bradby Award will be invited to present a keynote lecture at TaPRA’s annual conference in 2020.

PATAZ is available via Bloomsbury Publishing’s digital platform Drama Online, a digital resource available on subscription or as a one-time purchase to schools, colleges, conservatoires and university libraries worldwide:  www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/pages/physical-actor-training-an-online-a-z

Several of the films and more about the project are available here: thedigitalperformer.co.uk

Drama Online is a constantly growing collection of drama play texts, video and audio, providing contextual and critical background through scholarly works and practical guides for theatre students, teachers and practitioners. Physical Actor Training – an Online A-Z adds bespoke actor training content of the highest quality to the collection.

BSA award for ‘How to Do Things with Jokes’

Dr Shaun May and Dr Sophie Quirk, from the Department of Drama and Theatre in the School of Arts, along with Professor Simon Kirchin and Dr Graeme Forbes, from the Department of Philosophy in the School of European Culture and Languages, have been awarded funding from the British Society of Aesthetics (BSA) to organise a conference bringing together comedians and philosophers.

The conference, entitled ‘Aesthetics and Comedy: How to Do Things with Jokes’ will take place in October 2019.

The School of Arts hosts the Performance and Theatre Research Cluster and the Aesthetics Research Centre, while the University also hosts the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive.

A call for papers is to be announced shortly.

For more details about BSA awards, please see the page here: